Community Papers

Over 19,000 people warmed by blanket drive

Realtor Gary Foltyn unloads a van full of donations to volunteer Deni at the Night Shift Ministries in Surrey. Deni is a former client and remembers receiving a coat from the Realtors Care Blanket Drive.   - Laurie Dawson/contributed photo
Realtor Gary Foltyn unloads a van full of donations to volunteer Deni at the Night Shift Ministries in Surrey. Deni is a former client and remembers receiving a coat from the Realtors Care Blanket Drive.
— image credit: Laurie Dawson/contributed photo

From the Ladner seniors who fundraised to buy socks to students in Richmond and Langley, the 18th annual Realtors Care Blanket Drive collected blankets and warm clothing to help over 19,000 working poor and homeless people across the Lower Mainland.

Hundreds of real estate offices acted as drop-off locations during the Nov. 26 to Dec. 3 event.

Realtors picked up, sorted and delivered thousands of donations to over three-dozen charities from Whistler to Hope.

The Squamish Helping Hands Society organizes a variety of shelter and food programs to assist those in need and is a recipient charity of the Blanket Drive.

“The blanket and clothing donations we get not only help our clients, the act of giving itself recognizes a much deeper understanding of the human need there is in our communities and how important it is for us to take care of each other,” said Maureen Mackell, executive director.

That sentiment was echoed by Andy Kwak, executive director of The Salvation Army Centre of Hope in Abbotsford.

“Our mission is to bring warmth, nutrition and shelter to those who need it, so you can imagine how helpful hundreds of bags of clothing and blankets are to the people we serve. We really appreciate the effort that realtors put into this drive and their support throughout the entire year.”

Since 1994, the Blanket Drive has grown to become the largest collection of its kind in the Lower Mainland assisting over 205,000 people over those years. Donations come from realtors, their clients, the general public, corporations, retailers, community groups and schools. Everyone works together to make the drive a success.

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